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Chapter 34 BENCHMARKING

Some ten years ago, I suggested that we should be looking at a Quality Standard For Golf Courses and Sportsgrounds. In the interim there have been several attempts to put this forward.

The principal one has come from the R&A - Royal & Ancient Golf Club

They have put forward some excellent advice on

Sustainability

Benchmarking


I thought it would be of advantage to look outside, in the real world, where there are real people, doing comparable work to us and see what the effect of Health & Safety Legislation is having on them. Looking at how others are doing in comparable circumstances is called in the modern parlance - BENCHMARKING.

For this I have had a look at some publications and found:

ASBESTOS

A Local Council failed to prevent two men from being exposed to asbestos while they were installing blinds at the Local Civic Centre. Magistrates fined the council £10,000 for contravening Regulation 8 of the Control of Asbestos at Work Act. The council was fined a further £2000 for failing to ensure the men were not exposed to the risk of inhaling the asbestos dust and it was ordered to pay costs of £11,494.47.

ON THE FARM

Farm deaths up by 32% (from 22 to 36 in the year)

A fine of £2,000 plus costs for a company who failed to properly guard the PTO shaft on a Vacuum tanker - no accident had occurred

OUTDOORS

Health & Safety Executive are warning all outdoor workers to keep their tops on, especially in the middle of the day, to protect their skin from undue exposure to the sun.

A school was not held responsible for a pupil's death during a swimming lesson where the teacher was in charge of forty pupils (twice the number of permitted pupils) but the school was prosecuted for breaking safety regulations under section 3 of the Health & Safety at Work Act. The school pleaded guilty and was fined £21,000 for the incident.

The managing director of an outdoor activity centre was jailed for 3 years after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of four teenagers who died in a canoeing incident. His company, which organised the activity, was also found guilty on four counts of corporate manslaughter and fined £60,000

A climbing instructor was jailed for 3 months after he lied about his mountaineering teaching qualifications. The man admitted to issuing a false training certificate while working for an Adventure Training Centre in Dorset.

The use of line marking materials (especially the continued use of creosote, hydrated lime & paraquat) was still being discussed. COSHH Assessment would clearly identify the fact that these are irritant or harmful and can be taken in by skin or eyes (and especially by grazed skin) and thus have no place on any playing field.

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HOUSEKEEPING

Tripping over a telephone point left a bank employee with a fractured skull, whiplash and abrasions. The victim, a casual employee, turned to leave the work area and while walking away tripped over either a brass point or its cable and was catapulted into a desk's shelves striking them with the left side of her face. The bank was prosecuted under the Offices Shops & Railways Act for having an obstacle on the floor and fined £500 and under the Health & Safety at Work Act for failing to provide information, instruction and training and supervision necessary and fined £2,000 plus £690 costs.

Accidents to customers and other visitors to business premises must be reported under RIDDOR, according to a High Court Ruling. In a legal precedent, the court decided, on appeal, that the company should have reported an accident involving a customer who broke her arm falling down steps leading to a shop toilet.

SPRAYING

A London Borough was fined £10,000 plus £3455 costs for failing to have an exclusion zone during herbicide spraying. Its employees, wearing protective clothing, used spray while member of the public were within 1-3 metres. The Borough admitted a breach of Health & Safety at Work Act by failing to implement a 5 metre exclusion zone to ensure the safety of non-employees. Council for the defence said there was no evidence the herbicide affected anyone.

According to a report from HSE - Pesticide Incidents are at a four year high with member of the public more at risk than the user : pesticide drift being the main danger. A part of this may be due to greater public awareness and willingness to report.

The director and the company were prosecuted under the Control of Pesticide Regulations 1986 and fined £1,000 - they had stored and used a non-approved pesticide.

VEHICLES

In an accident at factory, a courier, was caught between a reversing lorry and a loading bay and suffered a fractured pelvis and serious internal injuries. Both the owner of the factory and the owner of the lorry were prosecuted under Health & Safety at Work Act Section 3. The company who owned the factory was fined £4,000 with £8,094 costs for not having a safe traffic management system on its premises. The owner of the lorry was fined £1500 and £6280 costs, for its lorry not being fitted with an audible reversing warning alarm.

I think that's probably enough comparisons to set you thinking - it certainly has me!!!


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